Coffee Republic suspends shares ready for administration – For more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say

06 July 2009 by
Coffee Republic suspends shares ready for administration – For more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say

Coffee Republic suspends shares ready for administration
Read the full article in the Guardian >>

Punch's £375m shares issue narrowly scrapes through vote Punch Taverns' £375m share issue narrowly scraped through after more than 40 million votes were lodged against the move, which is needed to pay off some of its £4.4b debt. The issue was approved by 75.1% of voters, marginally above the 75% needed. Two US hedge funds, Greenlight Capital and QVT Financial, are believed to have pooled their 13% holding against the issue. Although 60 institutions had voted in favour, the fact that many shares are held through contracts for difference (which prevents the controlling party from voting) meant only 53% of eligible votes were cast. Rebel shareholders wanted Punch to launch a small, less dilutive share issue and to continue selling pubs to meet debt repayments. Punch plans to issue 187.5 million shares at 100p that will represent 58% of its enlarged share capital. Similar worries about dilution may affect Monday's shareholder vote on Marston's planned £176m rights issue. - 3 and 4 July, Read the full articles in TheTimes and the Independent >> No-star hotel in Switzerland slashes room rate to £5.99
The world's first no-star hotel has slashed its room rates as low as £5.99 a night in response to the economic gloom. The Null Stern hotel (meaning no-star in German) opened earlier this summer in the Swiss town of Sevelen near the financial centre of Zurich as the ultimate no-frill offer. "It's the antithesis of the luxury and megalomania of the times in which we live," said Patrick Riklin, who co-owns the hotel with his brother. Its daily rates - which now range from £5.99 to £17 - buys a windowless room with no TV that may be shared with up to six other guests, no central heating, very little hot water, and a waking time of 7am, when guests must queue for the hotel's one shower. Despite its minimalism, the hotel has one unique feature that few other hotels can offer - it was built in a Cold War bunker and so will keep guests safe in the event of a nuclear explosion. - 4 July, Read the full article in the Daily Telegraph >> McDonald's drive-through turns away tandem riders Two teenage boys on a tandem bike were refused service at a McDonald's drive-through in Leyland, Lancashire, for health and safety reasons. Tom Halsall and Mark Dixon, both aged 17, said they stopped at the restaurant for a drink and joined the vehicle queue to save time because the restaurant was busy. They called for the manager when staff refused to join them but were told the restaurant was not insured if a car hit them. Halsall said he felt the refusal was unjustified as cars complying with the speed limit would have time to brake. Restaurant manager Rachel Hilliker said she had told staff she would prefer them not to serve pedestrians and cyclists at the drive-through window as a general health and safety policy. "But to be honest if I'd have been working that shift, I would have probably served them, but advised them it was at their own risk," she added. - 4 July, Read the full article in the Daily Telegraph >>

Collapse of graduate market benefits restaurants and bars
Debt-stricken graduates are helping to fill casual jobs in restaurants and bars, according to new official figures. The decline in graduate recruitment has left a third of last year's graduates unemployed or working in bars, restaurants, shops or call centres six months after leaving university. Official figures showed that 8% of full-time first-degree graduates were unemployed last year, compared with 6% the year before. Around 25% - a third of those able to find paid work - were in jobs classed as ‘elementary', such as waiting in restaurants or stacking shelves. The number of graduates out of work (21,000) was one-third higher than the previous year. These figures reflect the graduate job market before the credit crunch made an impact. Last month, a study of the leading 100 graduate employers found 5,500 of 20,000 planned vacancies had been scrapped. - 4 July, Read the full article in the Daily Mail >>
Peterborough pub hands out rare coin worth £7,000 in change
The Botolph Arms pub in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, was counting the cost after staff handed over a rare 20p coin worth up to £7,000 to a customer as change for a pint. It was one of batch of 200,000 coins that were mistakenly released by the Royal Min in Cardiff last year without a date. The 20p coins, which are legal tender, have a new picture on the tail side where the date used to be, mismatched with the old design on the other side. - 4 July, Read the full article in the Daily Telegraph

By Angela Frewin

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